KIGALI, January 16 – Hosts Rwanda got their CHAN 2016 campaign off to a bright start when they pipped holders Ivory Coast 1-0 at the Amahoro stadium on Saturday.
Defender Emery Bayisenge secured all the three points for the “Amavubi Wasps” with a well taken free-kick in the 16th minute.
Bayisenge had a chance to make it 2-0 just before half time but his penalty was saved by Ivorian goalkeeper Badra Ali Sangare.
Gabon battled to a 0-0 draw with Morocco in the second Group A match of the tournament.
Morocco dominated the first half but failed to find a way through, with Abdelilah Hafidi missing two close chances.
The Raja Casablanca midfielder shot wide from a distance in the 15th, and went agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock only for his goal to be ruled out for offside before the break.
Gabon, making their third appearance in the tournament, were awarded a free kick in the 32nd minute but a Georges Ambourouet delivery from the right flank failed to connect.
The CAF-organised tournament, being held in Rwanda for the first time, has attracted 16 teams divided in four groups, with the matches played in three venues of Kigali, Butare and Gisenyi.
The tournament is reserved for players who play their football in national leagues and alternates with the higher profile Africa Cup of Nations tournament for which players based overseas are also based.
Ivory Coast and Sudan have played host in previous tournaments since 2009.